Microsoft Antitrust Case to Supreme Court — U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson – who has been presiding over the Microsoft antitrust trial – has agreed with the Justice Department’s request under the Expediting Act to send Microsoft’s appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, bypassing the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Jackson has already found Microsoft guilty of violating antitrust law and, earlier this month, ordered both a series of restrictions on Microsoft’s business practices and that Microsoft be split into two separate entities. The decision to expedite the case directly to the Supreme Court is a blow to Microsoft, which wanted to proceed to the Appeals Court, which has previously been friendly to the company and (in a controversial move) had already agreed to hear Microsoft’s appeal with a panel of seven judges rather than the usual three. However, Judge Jackson’s decision does have a silver lining for the software giant: the judge’s divestiture order and conduct restrictions on the company are suspended until the ruling is overturned or Microsoft exhausts its appeals. The Supreme Court must now decide whether it will hear the case – a decision which may come quickly or could take months – and it could still cede the case to the Appeals Court. (For more background, see TidBITS’s coverage of Microsoft antitrust issues.) [GD]
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